As I write today, I realize I have recently hit a milestone. It has been 9 months since beginning the medical side to transitioning. I feel like things are shifting into high gear as my body is finally starting to fully process the high doses of estrogen I’ve been taking all this time. Changes are truly starting to take effect.

After 10 hours of electrolysis, facial hair has gone from a shadowy blight to a very manageable problem. The pain has been unreal for areas such as the upper lip. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars on hair removal alone over several months, and it’s something that wouldn’t carry the same value to everyone. I’ve tried a few sessions of laser hair removal, and it is hard to quantify the results from session to session. There was hardly any pain with laser, and a session lasted a fraction of the time as electrolysis. Afterward, I could hardly notice a difference, but laser seems to take more than one session to have any effect at all. Ultimately a combination of both for different areas is what’s working best for me, but results can vary.

Fat distribution and growth has been interesting. I’ve gained a little weight since the start of this process and which is not a bad thing. It happens at varying rates. Sometimes progress will move at a glacial pace, and then over a few days I’ll notice slight changes. Breast development has gotten to the point where I’ve had to go for my first bra fitting. The experience was surprisingly super casual and not awkward at all. I try not to get too high of hopes for where development might end up, and I’m pleased with what my body has done thus far. It’s amazing what the human body is capable of.

With really very little changes in my usual routine, my body has flipped all these tiny switches and receptors to utilize the full potential of my DNA. It’s beautiful to think about from a scientific perspective and something I appreciate often. Obviously, there’s so much more to being and becoming a woman than the biological component, but for me it’s been one of the root factors in why I’m transitioning. I can be wearing the best looking outfit, have my makeup on point and have society 100 percent validate my “status” as a woman…even then I still don’t think I’d be content without the secondary sex characteristics I’ve been developing. Underneath everything, I still have to live in my skin. That’s why I’ve strived for physical health every step of the way. That’s why I “need” to medically transition.

Something I try to do in both my writing and in everyday life is highlight the universal relativity of the process of transitioning. No matter who you are, everyone needs to take care of themselves. Everyone has relationships they want to be successful. Everyone wants to be safe, accepted and happy. We all need love and support. These are all boxes that I’ve tried to check in order to have a healthy transition. My identity of self needed working on, but I’m finally getting there. My perspective on the negative aspects of transitioning and social issues is that the problem is a bigger picture than I feel many realize. My real struggle isn’t some special exclusive transsexual issue at all. We all share a universal commonality of a desire to survive. That’s something I can’t relate to in any trans-celebrity sob story. I haven’t been able to worry about how society feels about me if I’m worrying about how to take care of myself on a basic needs level. We all strive for survival. It’s how were wired.

To truly evolve from a mode of survival, I’ve needed independence and to find inner strength. I found mine at a young age, not by choice. The world hasn’t always been so kind to me, and it’s not even an LGBT issue. Big picture here, life is hard. Finding the strength to stand on your own and say “I got this” is the first step to true evolution. I can’t stand with you if I can’t stand alone, otherwise you’re a crutch. Once we all realize we’re stronger than we think, only then can we break free of survival mode. What comes next is no longer just simply surviving, but living.

I feel a chapter ending with my writing. While an interesting subject, there’s so much more to this than the physiological component of transitioning. I’ve felt a growing frustration recently in what I can share with my experiences, far beyond what’s happening to my body. I’m excited for the future and everything in the articles to come.